You guys. So last week wasn’t that great for me. You all don’t need to hear all about it. But I was down. I was sad. I was clumsier than usual. I was super crazy emotional. I cried a LOT. But by Friday I was… well, I was okay. And I think that’s something.
On Tuesday I was sad and down and emotional, then I got pissed off and super indignant after listening to a podcast that was supposed to be funny. And it was! Mostly. But see, the guest, one of the hosts of the Nerdist podcast, Matt Mira, was talking about how he used to work at a funeral home, and how the hardest bodies to prep for burial were kids and young parents. He said that babies and old people didn’t get him. At all. And many can probably understand why elderly people don’t get as much sadness from a stranger, since strangers assume elderly people have lived a long life and, presumably, done much of what they wanted. But babies? Losing babies is a TERRIBLE, AWFUL thing.
You guys, I was PISSED. His reasoning, with which one of the two hosts agreed, was that those babies hadn’t had the chance to live, to love, to experience life. They missed out on all of it in a good way. As for the parents, well, his assessment was that they could probably just make another kid if they wanted one, and that they didn’t know the kid, so it probably wasn’t that big of a deal.
Now. Before someone declares “OFF WITH THEIR HEADS”, let me explain why and how it was a tiny bit helpful to me*. After several days worth of thinking about it, stewing over it, and being frustrated by it. These people? They aren’t parents. And they are comedians. Matt Mira’s only experiences with stillbirths or infant loss were from the perspective of his job at a funeral home, where he was faced daily with death**, and from the experience of his sister losing a child at seven months gestation. He spoke about this second experience to the extent that he noted his sister is mentally unstable, living off their parents, would have been a single mom, and the child probably would have had it really hard. I get that some people aren’t meant to be parents. And he probably believes his sister to be one of them, so his version of events is skewed by his thoughts. And being, self-admittedly, quite desensitized to it, Matt Mira might not understand when people aren’t, and not get it when people lose something they felt was irreplaceable.
I hate the phantom baby kicks right where Angel used to kick most, and I hate remembering my labor with her, the morning of her delivery, and the days after, especially holding her for the first time, just a little while after her birth and death, and holding her for the last, that awful day at the morgue. But what I mourn more than her actual physicality that I remember, is the idea of her. Wondering who she might have been, wondering what she might have done, and wondering what our life would be like now if we still had her. Looking back, I was COMPLETELY unprepared mentally for her arrival. I had no idea how to be a mom. It’s still lots of on-the-job training, but I’m a better mom to Eriana having had the pain and loss in my life. I’m less clingy and hovering than I thought I’d be, and I’m more tough than I thought I’d be, but I’m better as a result of my pain***. And I probably wouldn’t have Eriana now if Angel had survived. And living a life without the baby I lost, who I never really got to know, about whom I can only speculate as to her life, is much different than thinking about living life without the child I have been raising, who I see every day, who kisses me, hugs me, tells me she loves me, and smiles an amazing, intoxicating smile at me.
Of COURSE I don’t think about death like Matt Mira, who has only been around infant death externally, who is desensitized to death in general, and who isn’t a parent of any children. OF COURSE I miss Angel, and I reflect on what might have been. But for some reason hearing these people talk about this stuff made me feel a little bit better as I continuously thought about it all (what can I say? I’m a dweller). Who knows what Angel’s life would have held? Would she have cured cancer, or might she have had a hard, difficult life? Would I have lost her later if not at her birth? Would I have lost Eriana? Would I even have Eriana now? What would have happened if we had stayed in Japan another year? Where would we be now? Would Jim and I be as happy as we are now if we’d never gone through something that forced us to reevaluate everything we knew, held dear, and then somehow hold together through a devastating experience?
It was a weird juxtaposition, going from complete indigence and anger to suddenly understanding, a little. I still don’t condone talking about how infant death is a good thing, Matt Mira. And I know I will still have moments when I cannot stand from the pain of losing my first baby. But I do have a little bit more peace about the situation now than I have had in the last four years. Crass comedians, y’all. Who knew?
*To ME. Not to you. It doesn’t have to make sense to you. Don’t be mad at me if you’re just pissed and don’t get anything from it. Because we all interpret things differently, and always will. I get it. And you have EVERY right to your opinions and feelings, just as I do.
**I am NOT, by any means, saying that everyone who works around death is desensitized to it, nor am I saying that death does not affect everyone who works around it or that a parent who works in a hospital or a funeral home would not be sad if they lost a child. Every situation is different, and every person processes each situation with which they are presented differently. I have heard Matt Mira say several times that he has been desensitized to death and that is different from every perspective and differs between every person.
***Not saying this is how it would happen if you were to have a similar experience with loss. I, personally, am better. Not necessarily you.